Monday, August 19, 2013

Sean's Guide to Hating Stuff

I'm a nerd, and nerds are generally passionate people. Nerds love stuff and nerds hate stuff, and generally there isn't alot of in-between.

I don't like X-Men. I LOVE X-Men.

I didn't like Pacific Rim. I thought Pacific Rim was the best frakking movie I saw all year.

And I didn't dislike Star Trek Into Darkness. I thought Star Trek Into Darkness deserved to be cast into the fiery pits of Mt. Dhoom to forever break the power that it holds over the minds of mortal men.

So, yeah, passion.

It should be noted that loving stuff, and expressing love for stuff is way better than hating stuff, and expressing hate for that stuff. Like, I'd rather talk about how much I love the Star Trek: TNG episode "Tapestry" or, the end of the film "Iron Giant" than talk about how much Star Trek Into Darkness makes me want to stab out both of my eyes and feed them to a conspiracy of ravens.

The cool thing right now, is that the "light side" of the nerd force (loving stuff) seems to be winning out over the "dark side" (hating stuff and using homophobic/racist slurs to talk about hating stuff on internet message boards) of the nerd force.

In fact, I have read many articles, and watched many videos, and had many conversations wherein a nerd/geek extolled the virtues of loving stuff over the perils of hating stuff, and I think that's great.

However, we all hate some stuff. Like, I know how much we all hated Star Trek Into Darkness. And we should be allowed to hate stuff. Hating stuff is part of what makes us human. But there is a right way to hate something, and there's a right way to express an opinion about something you hate.

To help you learn how to better hate stuff, here is Sean's Guide to Hating Stuff.

Step 1- Actually consume a thing- You know what's maddening? When you talk to someone, and they say something like "I really hate Game of Thrones", and you're like "Well, that's interesting. Why do you hate it?" and they're like "Well, I've never watched it, but..." and that's exactly the moment I zone out. Because if you've never watched "Game of Thrones", but you've decided that you hate it, then the house of your opinion does not have a foundation. Generally, people who hate (or even like) things without watching/reading/watching/eating them are basing their opinions on hearsay. They've heard from a friend of a friend that the show is bad so they think it's bad. Or it just isn't the type of thing they would like. This is all dumb. If you want people to take your opinions seriously, make sure those opinions are informed.

Step 2- Really think about that thing- Have you ever had this happen? You're in high school, and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace comes out. You go watch it. Your immediate reaction is "That movie was frakking awesome!" You go home. You sleep. You wake up. You eat breakfast. You go to school. You come home from school. You're doing your AP US History homework, when all of a sudden you start thinking about the movie and you start thinking things like "Man, what a great movie. I mean, I guess Jar Jar Binks was annoying, and the bad guys were awful stereotypes of ethnic minorities, and I didn't really buy that little kid as Darth Vader, and Liam Neeson was kind of...wooden for Liam Neeson and the special effects made the whole thing look kind of fake and..." then you pause. You look at your homework assignment (writing an essay about the Whiskey Rebellion). You stare up at the wall, and you realize that you didn't love Star Wars: The Phantom Menace at all. Nope. You actually hated it.

This happens to me all of the time. My initial reaction to a thing ends up changing when I really give that thing some thought. You might love/hate something, and your opinion of that thing might very well change. It happens all of the time. Before you decide to rant about how much you hate something, think about it a little bit. Give yourself a few days and really think about it.

Step 2A- Expose yourself to other strains of thought on a thing- Consider a thing from all angles. Like, Star Trek Into Darkness is terrible, but before I wrote about it, and started drunkenly ranting to people at bars about it, I read alot about the film. I read interviews with the actors, and director, and writers. I read reviews- good and bad. I watched videos where people expressed their opinions of the film. Remember that by expressing a hateful opinion, you are setting yourself up for arguments. You want to win those arguments.

When I had really thought long and hard about my reasons for hating Star Trek Into Darkness, I let my scorn-filled opinion fly free.

Step 3- Does this thing hurt anybody?- Here's a big one. When I watch/read/eat something, and I find I don't really care for it, I consider WHY I don't like that thing. Like, is it just not to my taste? Or do I think that this thing is actually making the world a worse place? For instance, I think the television show "Law and Order" is very boring. However, lots of people like "Law and Order", and when I really think about it, "Law and Order" isn't hurting anybody. It's not making the world worse. You could argue that by making people happy, it's making the world better. Therefore, I don't really see any reason to walk around letting lots of people know that I think "Law and Order" is boring. It's just not worth my time.

On the other hand, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" actually made the world suck alot more. The movie featured racist caricatures, dumb jokes about robots with testicles, sexist portrayals of female characters, and a total lack of original ideas. And Bumblebee transformed into a Camaro instead of a Volkswagen Beetle. I'm still mad about that. Oh, and it's targeted at impressionable pre-teen boys, who are the LAST group of people who need to have stuff like that beamed into their brains. I hated that movie, and I will tell anyone who wants to hear it that I hated that movie. By providing an intelligent critique of the film I feel like I am improving the world in a small way. Therefore, my hate is constructive.

Step 4- Don't Make Your Hate the Focus of Your Life- Here's the big one. So you watched a thing. You thought about that thing. You realized that that thing was making the world a worse place. You let your opinion into the world. Now comes the most important part:

Let it go. Just let it go.

Don't let hate consume you like it did Obi Wan's apprentice. Even if it's something you're very justified in hating like Star Trek Into Darkness. Hate may be worth SOME of your time, but it certainly isn't worth ALL of your time or even MOST of your time.

It is worth just a tiny little bit of your time, and should only be expressed in the MOST constructive way(s) possible.

Now, get out there, and get hating.

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